Developer: BBC
Price: FREE
Version: 1.1.0

Design Rating: ★★★☆☆
Features Rating: ★★★☆☆
Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

In the midst of electronic whisks, microwaves and ferociously hot ovens, I’m surprised that some form of a personal computer has not become mainstream within a kitchen. After all, it is a place where ingredients collude to create good food. But we all know – usually from our own experiences – that food is not just the sum of its parts. You can have the finest ingredients in the land, but with no recipe or plan, you are not likely to create a fine meal. And this is where BBC’s Good Food application comes in.

Free as an application to download, consumers can enjoy a free preview of what they can expect in Good Food, and then decide whether or not to spend $2.99 per monthly issue (no commitments). If you’re already a Good Food print subscriber, you’ll get access to the magazines free of charge.

I’ve reviewed a number of magazine applications, and there’s always one thing in common: there’s never anything in common. From different layouts to unique finger gestures, no two magazines are ever the same. Although developers should implement their own style, it becomes tedious having to learn gestures over and over again. Which is why Good Food is refreshingly simple. Flick right to the next page – done. There’s a few buttons you’ll need to learn your way around – like the “Flip” which reveals the recipe of a pictured item and the “Cook” icon which reveals step-by-step cooking instructions – but that’s pretty much the height of it.

You can read the magazine in order or by section, of which there are four: Everyday (for everyday meals), In Season, Weekend, and Features. Each section is color coded and comes complete with a number of articles to enjoy reading. A focus is placed on clarity, and although the text size is not adjustable, it is of sufficient size to satisfy almost all readers. When the “Cook” button is tapped to reveal cooking instructions, the relevant text becomes even bigger still. The recipes have no double entendres about them – the wording is clear, so you can be sure that what you’re doing is what you’re meant to be doing.

Expanding on the “Features” section; this magazine isn’t all about cooking. In the preview edition alone, a “What to Drink” supplement, along with recommended thermometers and a view of Thomasina Mier’s kitchen provides ample reading, whether you’re passing the time before, during or after cooking. In addition, the application doubles up as a shopping list, with a quick option to insert all the relevant ingredients of a recipe into the list. There’s a glossary and in-app search in there too. Finally, an embedded bookmark tool – along with customizable folders – should keep you right for all occasions.

Overall, Good Food is pleasantly simple. By no means is it the best designed magazine out there, and with little video you’ll have to mostly rely on text instructions, but this is a content-focused magazine built not for iPad interaction, but kitchen interaction. And, ultimately, that’s what you’ll be buying it for.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Lifestyle, Reviews

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